I have left the event that my homeboy Fort Knox was hosting before it was over, because I had hoped to catch Juvenile’s performance on the A3C Main Stage on Edgewood Avenue, so I was surprised and disgusted to find that the stage had already shut down when I got there. So I made my way down Edgewood Avenue, checking out some of the venues where A3C showcases were going on, but most of them had horrendous lines waiting to get inside. I briefly peeked inside a hip-hop clothing boutique and mixtape shop called Tops Boutique, where a DJ was mixing in the shop, and then continued down the street. I ended up at The Music Room, where a showcase called Fresh Out The Box was taking place, which consisted strictly of Chicago artists. Few of the artists I saw were familiar to me (the exception was P. Dibiase), but I was impressed with Chi City and Saint Millie, and especially with Weasel Sims and the RAN Nation, a hard-core street rap group that would not be at all out of place in Memphis. Altogether, the showcase was a great introduction to the Windy City’s rap scene, and the artists chosen represented the highly diverse style of rap found in Chicago.
I had heard that the second day of A3C would be kicked off with a VIP Brunch which would be open to panelists, so I texted my homeboy Fort Knox about it, and headed down to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, where the event was being held. The brunch was on the 25th floor, but proved to be not so much a brunch, but just a table of fruit, danishes, bagels, coffee and juice. However, the view from there was beautiful, and DJ Tephlon was spinning on the north side of the room. On the south side were some exhibits, including a display of new Reebok shoes, and a Microsoft gaming exhibit, and Beatminerz Radio was providing the music on that side.
Since there was very little actual food at the brunch, my fellow panelist Travis McFetridge from Great South Bay Music and I headed out north to Buttermilk Kitchen for a very late brunch that was really good, and then back to the hotel for our “Negotiating the New Music Industry” panel, featuring him, Fort Knox, Big Tah, Latisha “Ms. NuNu” Manigault, attorney Andrew Krems and myself. The panel, which was intended to give artists strategies for coping with lost revenue from the decline in music sales was literally so crowded that nobody else could enter the room. Several people told me that they considered it a success, so I was pleased with the outcome.
When I got to Atlanta, I went immediately to the Crowne Plaza Hotel, which last year had been the Melia Hotel, and registered for the A3C conference. Although it was only the first day of the event, the hotel was already crowded with rap artists, industry people and fans. After getting checked in at my hotel, and eating dinner, I headed down to the Edgewood Avenue area to attend showcases, ending up first at the upstairs stage of a building called Erosol or the Department Store, where an artist named Nate was on stage. He was soon followed by a Maybach Music Group artist named Torch, but the venue was extremely crowded, so I walked down Edgewood to the Music Room, where the Atlanta rapper Money Makin Nique was on stage. I had heard him first several years ago, but I was extremely impressed with the new material he performed this year, and spent some time talking with his manager on the sidewalk outside. But my homeboy Fort Knox was emceeing an event at Enclave, a club on Spring Street not far from the conference hotel, so I got the car and drove back over to the hotel, but ended up going into the Quad instead of the Enclave, and saw the rapper Cash Out on stage with his entourage. I realized that Fort Knox wasn’t hosting that event, and decided to go around the corner and into Enclave, but by then, the latter venue was closing and wouldn’t let me in. I got a brief chance to speak with Knox before he headed out, and I rode back to my hotel as well.
My homeboy Fort Knox had told me about a hip-hop show taking place in East Atlanta Village at The Basement, and Money Makin Nique’s manager KD had mentioned a birthday party for the visual artist Paper Frank being held at The Graveyard, and as it turned out, as if by design, one event was downstairs from the other, so I went to both. The DJ-based party for Paper Frank filled up very quickly in The Graveyard Tavern, so much so that it was hard to even walk around, although I did catch up with KD, who introduced me to Money Makin Nique, who is making a fair amount of noise around Atlanta for his single “Funny Guy”, which got played while I was there. Downstairs in The Basement, my homeboy Fort Knox was hosting a hip-hop concert, featuring a number of local Atlanta area MC’s.
Even the best things end eventually, and Monday morning was my last morning in Atlanta before going back to Memphis. A3C was over for the year, but I called my homeboy Fort Knox and invited him to breakfast at a place called ADios Cafe, which I had seen during Flux Night. The cafe is affiliated with the No Mas Hacienda and Cantina, which is a Mexican housewares store and restaurant in the Castleberry Hill neighborhood, so the cafe, which sells coffees, desserts and breakfasts has a pronounced Mexican theme. Nevertheless, they do sell traditional American style breakfast items as well, but the interesting things are the dishes with a slight Mexican twist, such as blue corn pancakes. The coffee is imported from Mexico, very delicious, and available to take home ground or in whole bean pound bags. It was too early to try desserts, but they looked absolutely incredible, and the ADios Cafe also features fine chocolates under the brand Chocolate of the Gods. The cafe is open every day from 8 AM-10 PM.
180 Walker St. SW
Atlanta, GA 30313
Starting at 3 PM, there were two large block parties taking place along Edgewood Avenue as part of A3C, and these drew some of the largest crowds of the week since they were free and did not require wristbands. The one on the large Old Fourth Ward stage was hosted by Questlove of The Roots and featured DJ’s playing nothing but classic old-school hip-hop all afternoon. The other block party was behind Noni’s Deli and was sponsored by an Atlanta event collective known as Beer and Tacos. This event was hosted by my good friend Fort Knox, and featured a line-up of hip-hop performers on the outdoor stage. As the afternoon wore on, however, clouds began to gather in the west, and the day soon grew overcast. At about 5 PM, I made the decision to drive down to Six Feet Under (a seafood restaurant) for dinner, and I made the right decision just in the nick of time, because the storms and heavy rains broke while I was eating dinner on the outdoor roof. From there I headed to the Sun Dial bar on the 72nd floor of the Westin Atlanta for coffee and dessert, although the view of the city was obscured by so many storms. Seeing lightning directly outside the windows was interesting though!
I wanted to make sure that I got the opportunity to see Bun B perform live at the Earl in East Atlanta Village, because although I had met Pimp C years ago in Port Arthur, I had never gotten an opportunity to see UGK perform live. In the event, the venue was packed to overflowing, and I really didn’t think I would get to see much. Fortunately, I was able to work my way up to the front near the stage, and was surprised to see that my homeboy Fort Knox was the master of ceremonies for that showcase. Bun’s performance touched on most of the most popular UGK songs, often with the audience reciting the late Pimp C’s verses. It was a great experience.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. At least that’s what our parents said, and many health experts seem to agree. Certainly it’s the most enjoyable, and that’s even much more the case when you find a brunch restaurant as good as North Atlanta’s Buttermilk Kitchen. The Buttermilk Kitchen is a breakfast and lunch concept from Chef Suzanne Vizethann, who is well-known in Atlanta food circles, and who won a contest on the Food Network. It’s not hard to tell why, because the Buttermilk Kitchen is a restaurant of perfection, from the food, to the furnishings, to the bright, sunny feel of the place. Even the most basic menu choices, like bacon, eggs and a biscuit, are clearly prepared with love and attention to detail, and the freshly brewed coffee is truly amazing. My friend Fort Knox met me there, and was also pleased. Normally, Buttermilk Kitchen is not open at night, although they do occasionally open at night for special events, including “fried chicken nights.” I’ve also been told that their lunch burgers are amazing. They are closed on Mondays, open on Tuesday through Saturday from 8 AM to 2 PM, and stay open an hour later on Sundays.
4225 Roswell Rd
Atlanta, GA 30342
My homeboy Fort Knox (@FORTKNOXLIVE) and me at Another Broken Egg Cafe in Atlanta, 10/05/12